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Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  857 ratings  ·  183 reviews
After losing his wife to breast cancer, Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes. He quit his job of seventeen years and embarked upon a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,176-mile stretch of varying terrain spanning fourteen states. During his nearly five-month-long hike, he battled brutal trail conditions and overwhelming loneliness, but also enjoyed spectacul...more
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Synergy Books
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Helen Dunn
I'm being generous with the three stars. I feel like I'm somewhere between 2.5 and 3 on this book. However, the problems I had are my own and mostly due to the fact that I didn't read the back cover closely before buying the book and so I wasn't prepared for how much of it is about the author's relationship with God.

I'm fascinated by long distance hiking and I have read many books on this subject. The people who tend to go on these adventures are usually driven by something other than love of th...more
Lisa
This is the second and more inspiring book I've read about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I want to achieve that goal myself someday, even more so after reading this account. Stutzman's journey was one of seeking peace, freedom, and a personal relationship to God. As an agnostic, I couldn't relate to his losing religion but gaining spirituality, as he put it. For a man born and raised in a strict Mennonite family with its stringent traditions, he impressed me with his relative open-mindednes...more
Theresa
Apr 16, 2010 Theresa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is not the first book I've found about hiking the Appalachian Trail, nor will it be the last. What makes this book different is the message and the reason behind it. When Mr. Stutzman's wife died, he realized that all he worked for was nothing compared to what he lost with his wife. The importance was spending time with your loved ones, and live each day like it's your last with them. He took that message along with him on his 5 month trip on the Appalachian Trail.

Mr. Stutzman writes his ad...more
Carly
This book appealed to me for so many reasons I don’t even know where to start. First of all, I love memoirs, they are all I read before I got hooked on Christian fiction. Second, I love to read books about nature and adventures I’ll likely never see. I also love books about healing that are written by people who have experienced the very healing that the book is about. Hiking Through was exactly the book I was hoping it would be.

I have had a difficult time watching my dad deal with the grief of...more
Clockstein Lockstein
Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman is the story of one man's journey on the Appalachian trail, through grief, and to understanding about God. Stutzman spent his life working at a restaurant to make enough money for he and his wife to enjoy when he retired. Unfortunately, his wife, Mary, died of breast cancer, and he was left along and struggling with guilt, grief, and depression. He decided to fulfill a life-long dream of hiking the entire Appalachian trail, all 2,176 miles and fourteen states as a...more
Patty
Mr. Stutzman faced one of the biggest fears we married people face; he lost his beloved wife far too soon. They worked hard. They had plans for retirement. Big dreams. But because of cancer Mr. Stutzman was left with an overwhelming feeling of loss, of why and of not having appreciated his wife nearly enough. So with not just a little bit of fear but a lot of faith in his God he set off on one of his biggest dreams - a hike through of the Appalachian Trail.

I think this book appealed to me becaus...more
Katherine
I am surprised by all of the five star reviews of this book. I have been interested in reading about hiking the Appalachian trail for some time, ever since I read Bill Bryson's book, "A Walk in the Woods". That book for me was soooo much better! If you don't want to be bombarded with religion, avoid "Hiking Through".

Many reviewers spoke of the colorful characters that the author met along the way, but I felt that any he mentioned were completely undeveloped. Why, for instance, is "Einstein" cal...more
Wendy Jones
In order to put into context why I gave this book 5 stars I started reading it yesterday morning and finished it at midnight, not having done much else all day. After his wife dies of cancer Paul Stutzman hikes the whole of the appalachian trail in order to come to terms with her death, work out his relationship with God and fulfill a promise he had made to himself whilst she was alive. This book had me gripped from the get go. From the inital preparations for the hike, to the very final step I...more
Ibjoy1953
MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

When Paul Stutzman’s wife passed away from breast cancer, even though life had to go on, it didn’t help the feelings of grief, hurt, being abandoned by God, and missing his wife Mary. After a year, Paul decided to quit his job and restaurant manager and hike

away his grief on the Appalachian Trail. I love the Appalachian Mountains, and having visited quite a bit, I can see why the author chose this setting as his place of healing. And of course there were the questions, di...more
Warren
I really enjoy auto-biographical accounts like this one. That's the only reason I gave it 2 stars. Other than enjoying the account of one man's journey along the Appalachian Trail, this book had another purpose. You learn of the author's religious background as a Mennonite which is an interesting account. Around mid-way through the book, however, things start to take an odd turn and it's clear that the author's religious base is becoming very mystical. Unfortunately, this is not too far afield f...more
TAMMY CUEVAS
After suffering the loss of his wife to cancer, Paul Stutzman gave up his career in the restaurant business to pursue a longtime dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. In his book, "Hiking Through", the reader will not only accompany him on his physical journey, but on his spiritual journey as well.

This book has appeal for different types of readers on different levels. For those who dream of hiking the trail ( or those who already have), for lovers of the outdoors, people who seek adventure if...more
Rick Boyer
I liked this book. The story chronicles the experience of Paul Stutzman, who had recently lost his wife to breast cancer, and who had now embarked on a "thru-hike" of the 2,168 mile Appalachian Trail. It was his attempt to fine peace, hope, recovery from his grief, and a more meaningful relationship with God. Through five difficult months hiking the trail, he was able to realize all his goals.

The book is a very entertaining description of life on the AT, the interesting relationships that one ma...more
Katie
Mar 19, 2010 Katie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All!
Paul Stutzman dreamed of through hiking the Appalachian Trail all his life, but life got ahead of him. After losing his wife to breast cancer Paul decided to take a risk- he quit his job of seventeen years and set out on the trail. On his nearly 2,200 mile journey from Georgia to Maine Paul dealt with extreme loneliness and brutal trail conditions, as well as, breathtaking vistas and irreplaceable trail camaraderie. Embarking on one of the most famous hikes in the world Paul learned that God had...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Normally when I discover that a book has no negative reviews, I'm very skeptical. I know how unrealistic it is to think that every reader will adore every book the same way. When it comes to Hiking Through, however, I can understand why every review I've seen, so far, has been 4 or 5 stars. It's terrific.

I'm not an outdoorsy person. I hate camping and I hyperventilate at the thought of aerobic exercise, although I do enjoy walking. I've done, and mostly enjoyed, short hikes here and there over t...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Unless it’s the most important thing in your life at the time, you probably won’t finish.’


Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes after his wife Mary died from breast cancer. Twelve months after Mary’s death, Paul quit his job and set out on a through hike of the Appalachian Trail – a 2176 mile journey spanning fourteen states.

The physical journey took almost five months; I suspect that the spiritual journey will never end. During his journey, Paul battled difficult trail conditions and...more
Ricky
"For those of you who don't believe in God, my thoughts on life, death, and eternity will make no sense. If you came here to read an adventure book, just skip ahead a few paragraphs while I talk with those who have suffered a devastating loss in life." Page 298.

Maybe it's a book about finding God. Maybe it's a book about taking a journey and seeing what we're made of. As someone who someday hopes to walk the walk of the Appalacian Trail, I find both of those views acceptable. If you don't like...more
Clare
Hiking through seemed to find me more than I found it, which was very interesting because that's exactly what Paul Stutzman said the book would do when he was writing it. This book was one of adventure, both of the physical sense and of the spiritual sense. At times it was a little religious, but I read it anyway and I'm glad I did because I truly felt a connection with many of the things Paul wrote about. This is a book about finding out what our lives are truly about and making that into a rea...more
Happyreader
A gentle AT travelogue, it you can call the AT gentle. Other than an interesting update on the 1981 AT murderer and an encounter with a rabbit on steroids, not much drama on the trail. More about the fellow hikers he encounters and how the experience broadens his horizons. Yes, this recently widowed Mennonite spends some talking and hiking with God and a backpacking priest but his trail theology is very palatable. A pleasant, healing walk in the woods and lovely transition to his new phase of li...more
Amy
Wonderful wonderful book. He is funny and has an amazing story to tell. It is my dream to also hike the AT once the kids are grown and this book brought it to life along with a wonderful personal journey with God.
Brad Lackey
Wonderful spiritual adventure. Read it twice...and probably will again one day. It is one of 'them" books!!
Carol
Thought I would be bored. Not at all. Very spiritual. Will read again.
Peter
Too much religion, not enough hiking
Joemmama
I was a little nervous when I heard about this one. The author is a deeply religious man and I always fear being preached to, but my fears were never realized. Although religious, the thoughtful author warned the reader when he was going to delve deeply into faith issues. I was grateful, but read the sections anyway.

After the death of his beloved wife, Paul Stutzman decided to walk the Appalachian Trail. Yes, he walked over 2000 miles. This little hike takes a lot of planning, my friends, and it...more
Jennifer
From my blog...[return][return]Hiking Through is an astonishingly beautiful memoir of a man struggling to reconcile his grief while rediscovering whom he is while learning to truly see everything that the world has to offer. Paul had always enjoyed hiking as a release, and a dream of his was to hike the Appalachian Trail. However, Paul was busy working and raising a family so the Appalachian Trail dream remained unfulfilled. Paul's world is turned upside down when his wife Mary is diagnosed with...more
Lisa
Hiking Through
By Paul Stutzman

Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2053
$13.99
May 2012
Inspirational Memoir

Healing grief is different for everyone: some try, some don’t, some make rash decisions or none at all. Paul Stutzman through-hiked the Appalachian Trail one summer two years after his wife’s death from cancer.

Leaving his career as a restaurant manager and taking the hike, Stutzman says he needed a greater purpose than simply making a drastic change in his life. His goals were twofold: “to remind men to ap...more
Daven
I picked up this book in the hospital gift shop when our son had to unexpectedly spend a second night there after the placement of a new pacemaker. I can see why it was included among the relatively few titles there; Stutzman, after losing his wife to cancer, sets off to accomplish a grueling physical as well as spiritual journey by "hiking through" the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.

This is an easy and engaging read. I found it a welcome companion for that mostly restless night (who ca...more
Steve Curll
If you have ever hiked or walked on mountain trails, and maybe dreamed of the Appalachian Trail, this is a fascinating read. The author describes the people he meets and the lessons learned during a five month journey. After his wife died, he took the trail to find peace with God. He learns that peace does not always look the way we desire. It is fascinating to watch a man learn to consider a dozen pancakes a meal, and still lose at least fifty pounds over 5 months and just under 2000 miles. His...more
Will Waller
This book didn't grab me the way other AT narratives have. Some parts of his writing bugged me: As a former thru-hiker myself, I'm critical of people who turn the trail into a metaphor for something it's not. This metaphor that Stutzman chooses is Pilgrim's Progress. That he is a pilgrim along the trail, moving from a state of despair over his wife's premature death to a state of completion or satisfaction works for some but not for me. Doing so, Stutzman, or Apostle as he's known on the AT, ele...more
Laura
Title: HIKING THROUGH
Author: Paul Stutzman
Publisher: Revell
March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2053-7
Genre: Inspirational/Memoir

Memoirs are not generally a genre I enjoy reading, but HIKING THROUGH caught my attention. I’ve always been fascinated by the Appalachian Trail and one of my sons have mentioned wanting to someday hike the trail, so I thought this book sounded interesting.

Paul Stutzman’s wife, Mary, died of breast cancer – a disease I was unfortunate enough to get and battle, but so far, with t...more
Sweetwilliam
Paul is a Restaurant Manager who turns hiker after he loses his wife to cancer. He decides to quit his job and through-hike the Appalachian Trail in the season of 2008. Paul starts the trail in Georgia in the spring and walks all the way to Mt Katahdin in Maine. I can’t believe how tough the trail is. Through Paul’s travels you get to know the type of characters that walk the trail and understand what drives them. You become familiar with trail lingo, concepts, tactics, and traditions. The trail...more
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Author Resume
Name.. Paul Stutzman
Trail name.. Apostle
Place of birth.. Millersburg, Ohio
Age...58
Marital Status... widowed
Education.. High School
Church affiliation.. Mennonite
Family..Three children, four grandchildren
Occupation...Retired from restaurant management.
Previous published articles...none. This is my first attempt.
Previous writing.. Blog about my hike on www.trailjournals.com/apostle It ha...more
More about Paul V. Stutzman...
Biking Across America: My Coast-To-Coast Adventure and the People I Met Along the Way Biking Through The Wanderers Wandering Home More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting

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